Pathway to citizenship supported by majority of Americans
While there is some disagreement about how unauthorized immigrants should be assimilated into the United States, there appears to be widespread concurrence that they at the very least deserve a pathway to citizenship.
According to a recent poll commissioned jointly by two public policy interest groups that favor opposing sides of the political spectrum, more than half of the 1,000 respondents polled said that they were in favor of immigrants being granted a pathway to naturalization.
Speaking to an assembly of reporters about the poll, National Immigration forum member Jeb Bush Jr., son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sr., said it’s promising to see that Democrats and Republicans are largely like-minded on the issue of a citizenship pathway.
“Hopefully [lawmakers] have this type of data to … allow them to say listen, this is an issue that’s great for our country, people support it around the country, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for border security,” said Bush, according to the Huffington Post.
There was also a considerable amount of unity on immigration, in general, being a good thing for the country. When asked about immigration being a good or bad thing, nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated they thought it was overwhelmingly positive.
However, these same respondents didn’t think the U.S. immigration system was operating very well. Nearly half of the poll’s participants thought immigration needed to be revamped completely. Only 2 percent of adults thought the current system was “working very well.”
Though important, immigration reform still not priority
Despite respondents’ general sense that immigration reform needed to be addressed and that immigrants do a lot of good for the U.S. economy, there wasn’t a general sense that this issue should take precedent above other important issues for the federal government. The poll found that only 11 percent of men and women labeled fixing the country’s immigration system as a “very high priority.” At the same time, few thought it was a “very low priority,” as approximately one in every 10 indicated as such. The overwhelming majority – 77 percent – thought amending the immigration system was a medium or high priority.
Many legislators have given indications that 2013 ought to be a year in which immigration reform is furthered. The State of the Union address is slated for the early part of February and many political observers say that President Barack Obama will likely devote a portion of this speech to outlining what he hopes to do in the year ahead and how legislators can help.
Many legislators have given their positions in immigration, including those who some suspect could run for president in 2016. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, one of three Hispanics that serves in the Senate – the others being Ted Cruz from Texas and Robert Menendez of New Jersey – recently gave this thoughts and opinions on what he would do to reform the system so working people can continue to send money home to their families. And according to the Washington Post, his policies align with the general public’s, in that he supports a pathway to citizenship. The editorial board for the newspaper said that the Senate Republican’s intentions largely mesh with Democrats on principle. Where there’s contrast is how this pathway should be constructed. In other words, there’s some division on the details of this pathway.
However, one detail that Rubio and other lawmakers are eye-to-eye on is making more visas available for people who work in industries that the country needs, such as technology, engineering and the sciences.